The Chicago Journal

Record Number of Asylum Seeker Buses Flood Chicago Streets

Image commercially licensed from: DepositPhotos

A Remarkable Arrival

Seven more buses carrying asylum seekers have recently rolled into the vibrant city of Chicago, creating a buzz in the midst of the urban hustle and bustle. This significant influx ties the record for the highest number of arrivals in a single day, marking a noteworthy milestone in the city’s ongoing experience with migration.

A City on Alert

The Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) played a pivotal role in confirming the arrival of these buses, with some reaching their destination in the early hours of Tuesday morning and the remainder expected later in the day. This remarkable turnout represents the most buses Chicago has seen in a single day since last August, when the first wave of asylum seekers from Texas started arriving.

A Day of Continuous Arrivals

Throughout the day, charter buses filled with migrants continued to pour into the Chicago Greyhound Bus Station, located at 630 W. Harrison St. Anticipating the unpredictability of arrivals, the city had even prepared school buses on standby, ready to greet new arrivals as they disembarked.

An Almost Eighth Bus

While seven buses successfully made their way to Chicago, an eighth bus, initially expected, experienced delays and was unable to arrive on Tuesday. Had it made it to the city, it would have broken the record for the most buses in a single day since the surge of migrants began last summer.

Tying the Recent Record

With seven buses making their way into the city, Chicago once again ties the record for the highest number of arrivals in one day, a record that was only set on the previous Sunday.

A Growing Trend

Chicago’s journey with migrants from Texas continues, as over the weekend, two buses arrived from El Paso for the first time since last December. This has brought the total number of buses from El Paso to 71, highlighting the city’s role as a hub for migrants since August.

An Escalating Influx

The rate of arrivals in the city has shown a significant increase since May. From August 31, 2022, to the present, a total of 281 buses filled with migrants have arrived in Chicago, with 172 of those arriving since May 12. Remarkably, 60 of these buses have arrived in the city in this month alone.

The Challenge of Shelter

As of Tuesday, nearly 9,000 migrants are still residing in 21 temporary shelters established by the city, with an additional 2,052 awaiting placement in Chicago police stations or at O’Hare and Midway airports. These numbers highlight the ongoing challenge of accommodating and supporting asylum seekers.

Volunteers at the Frontlines

Volunteer groups working tirelessly to aid asylum seekers are feeling the strain of the continuous flow of migrants. Resources are running low, and the demand for assistance remains high, creating a constant struggle to keep up with the growing needs of this population.

Looking to the Future

As the city grapples with the migrant crisis, concerns about the approaching winter season are emerging. The city of Chicago is actively exploring solutions, including Mayor Brandon Johnson’s plan to establish migrant base camps across the city. A $29 million contract with a private security firm has been signed, though specific camp locations and commencement dates have yet to be announced.

A Call for Public Input

In the midst of these developments, Aldermen Anthony Napolitano (41st) and Anthony Beale (9th) are proposing a referendum to be added to the March 2024 primary ballots in Chicago. This referendum would allow voters to decide whether the city should continue to maintain its sanctuary city designation, a move that has generated significant political debate.

National Implications

On a broader scale, the Biden administration has announced a new policy granting temporary protected status to Venezuelans who arrived before July 31. This policy is expected to provide a legal pathway to employment for these individuals, potentially alleviating some of the pressure on cities like Chicago.